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Der Commander

The Commander
Il Triangolo della Paura

West Germany/Italy 1987
produced by
Erwin C. Dietrich for Ascot Film, Prestige Film
directed by Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti)
starring Lewis Collins, Manfred Lehmann, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Protacio Dee, Brett Halsey, Chat Silayan, Hans Leutenegger, Christian Brückner, Frank Glaubrecht, Thomas Danneberg, Anita Lochner, Wolfgang Kühne, Paul Muller, Bobby Rhodes, John Steiner, Romano Puppo, Ilse Pagé, Mike Monty
written by Tito Carpi, Arne Elsholtz, music by Walter Baumgartner, Eloy, cinematography by Peter Baumgartner

Antonio Margheriti's Mercenary-Trilogy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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General Dong (Protacio Dee), who is the druglord of Cambodia, and Mazzarini (Lee Van Cleef), who runs a private drugs-for-arms-program, are in a dispute over prices for Dong's drugs, so Mazzarini decides to send a team of mercenaries led by Major Colby (Lewis Collins) to Dong's camp with his next shipment of weapons to teach him a lesson.

Somehow, Carlson (Donald Pleasence) of the DEA gets wind of this, so he decides to have Colby's men infiltrated by one of his agents, Mason (Manfred Lehmann), above all to get a disc out of the camp containing information about all of Dong's contacts. But DEA-agent Williams (Christian Brückner) gets wind of this, and since nobody seems to trust nogody in the DEA, he decides to replace Mason with one of his agents, Wild Bill (also Manfred Lehmann).

Eventually, Wild Bill hooks up with the Major and his men (among them Thomas Danneberg, Bobby Rhodes and Mike Monty as well as a woman, Chat Silayan), and it's off through the jungle with their guide Duclaud (John Steiner), who sells them to some local rebels at the first opportunity, but the Major and his men shoot themselves free, and it's up to Wild Bill to kill Duclaud.

Eventually, our heroes arrive at Dong's camp, but Dong has been warned by none other than Mazzarini himself, and he takes them all prisoner before they can do any damage. But when unpacking the weapons, Dong has to find out they ahve all been rigged with explosives, and are totally worthless, even dangerous, if you don't know how to unrig them. But that's not all, soon the camp is attacked by a gang of soldiers in the Major's employ, and it all ends in a big shoot-out, at the finish of which the General's camp is blown to kingdom come (in scenes lifted from Magheriti's earlier Codename: Wild Geese). Only the Major and Wild Bill survive the ordeal, and after the Major has established that he knows that Wild Bill is not who he's supposed to be and he also knows that Wild Bill has the disc in question, the two of them decide to work together and repay Mazzarini, who has tricked them, in kind.

In Naples, they arrange a meeting with Mazzarini on Mazzarini's boat, to exchange the disc for 5 million Dollars, but Mazzarini doesn't play fair, and while he hands over the money to the Major, he has an explosive attached to his car. However, what he doesn't know is that the Major has foreseen this, and has long told Wild Bill to take the explosive back to Mazzarini and attach it to his yacht. So when Mazzarini - who by the way was in league with Williams, Wild Bill's employer, who turns out to be a rogue DEA agent - wants to blow up the Major's car, he is totally taken by surprise when he - and his yacht - go boom instead.

 

After Codename: Wild Geese and Commando Leopard, The Commander is the third mercenary film starring Lewis Collins that Antonio Margheriti did for Erwin C.Dietrich's Ascot and it's possibly also the weakest of the bunch: The plot for what is supposed to basically be a shoot-em-up mercenary film is way too convoluted, the set-up is overly long, talky and confusing, especially considering that everything is in the end resolved by a few explosions, and the action is restrained compared to the earlier films. That though doesn't say the film is all bad, it's very solidly directed (as much could be expected from Antonio Margheriti), it's better acted than many comparable films, and to see quite so many B-movie-veterans together in one film is in itself enjoyable - at least for trash-fans like myself.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD